Posts Tagged ‘family’

Tour of Cobán, Guatemala

Monday, July 24th, 2017

tour-of-coban-guatemala

My family went on a tour of Cobán, Guatemala by complete coincidence, since our original plan was to go to the location of my boarding school in Huehuetenango. There were mud slides blocking the roads, making the way dangerous, so we decided not to go to Huehue. Good thing, because the next day, there was a large earthquake there that killed at least a dozen people.

coban-market

On the way to our alternate destination of Cobán, we drove on a street that suddenly ended. If we had kept driving, we would have fallen off a cliff and into the river! A previous earthquake near the beginning of our trip had collapsed the bridge. We took a ferry across the river:

When we arrived in Cobán, we saw that it was a lively city with a busting market. People didn’t even bother getting out of the street for the traffic, as you can see in the video.

coban-farmacy

I had never been to Cobán, so we had to ask what the main sights were. The hotel people told us that the Spanish church with lots of steps overlooks the city and is a beautiful place to go. As I walked down normal streets, I was reminded of my childhood, since the Latin flavor of the surroundings is so nostalgic to me.

coban-street

There were a LOT of steps to the top of the hill where the Spanish-style church is located. It’s great for exercise after being in the car for many hours, since we had just driven from Peten.

steps-to-coban-church

And this is the view at the top of the steps!

view-of-coban

The video shows you a short tour of the medieval-style Spanish hotel where we stayed. For some reason we didn’t take any pictures of the hotel. It had a courtyard in the middle, reminding me of where I used to go on retreats with my Pioneer Girls group, growing up.

I hope you enjoyed our tour of Cobán, Guatemala. Stay tuned for our coffee plantation zipline tour, coming up next! If you don’t want to miss any posts in my Guatemala Adventure series, follow my Missionary Kid page!

Tour of Tikal, Guatemala

Monday, July 17th, 2017

tour-of-tikal-guatemala

Come on a tour of Tikal, Guatemala with our family! This was the most exotic place we went in Guatemala. Driving to Petén (the north area of the country where Tikal is located) took us 11 hours instead of 9 because of traffic and mud slides on the freeway. Speed bumps also slowed us down in the villages. By the way, all the vehicles–including buses and motorcycles–drive twice the speed limit that’s posted.

top-of-tikal

The ruins of the temples that look like pyramids in Tikal are breathtaking. These ruins are surrounded by green jungle growth, moss, and trees. The steps of the “Gran Jaguar” are so eroded that visitors are no longer allowed to go up. The temple opposite the “Gran Jaguar” has public wooden steps at the back that prevent further erosion of that second temple.

It was at the top of this second temple where we got our family photo taken:

tikal-family

Here is the view from the top of the temple:

tikal-ruins

Many stones (almost like over-sized tombstones) are located at the bottom of the pyramids. The etchings on these large stones are a mystery. I happily told my kids this was a Mayan library.

tikal-stone

As we were walking through the jungle, we saw wild monkeys swinging through the trees:

tikal-monkey

For all my children, seeing the temples of Tikal was one of the highlights of the trip.

Video Tour of Tikal, Guatemala

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Tour of San Felipe Castle, Guatemala

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

san-felipe-castle-guatemala

After our Río Dulce boat ride, we walked up to the beautiful San Felipe Castle in Guatemala. If I had known that there was a real Spaniard castle from the 1500’s just a few hours from where I grew up, I would have gone as a child. My parents thought it was just a fort with one room, but as you can see from the video tour, there were lots of rooms, complete with a kitchen and dining room, bedrooms, a chapel, a courtyard, and a dungeon. There were many towers to look out over the river.

Video Tour of the San Felipe Castle

The day that we toured the castle was sunny with clear blue skies. Although it was sweltering hot, the beauty of the castle was a delight. I have always loved castles, and this was no exception. I found myself going in and out of various rooms and corridors, losing myself in the time period of the colonization of Guatemala by the Spaniards.

castle-of-san-felipe

Inside the castle was a large kitchen complete with fireplace to cook whatever wild fowl the hunters found in the river. The area was also lush with banana and coconut trees, so those foods must have been incorporated into their diet as well. I love the look of the Spaniard yellowish-stone walls both inside and outside the castle.

san-felipe-castle-inside

I walked both upstairs and downstairs in this castle, as there were many rooms. It wasn’t just a functional fort for soldiers. It was a fully livable home for that time period, with plenty of space for servants. There was a barracks for soldiers, and the fact that there was a dungeon for enemies with individual cells for solitary confinement was creepy.

castle-corridor

Cannons decorate the outside of this castle, not only on the top of the castle, but on the grass at the base of the castle, facing out toward the river. Since the castle is situated on the Río Dulce River, it is protected on three sides by the water itself, and the top of the castle gives a commanding view of the area to prevent any attacks.

castle-cannon

I love the picture of my family taken at the San Felipe Castle:

castle-family

If you don’t want to miss any posts in my Guatemala Adventure series, follow my Missionary Kid page!

Río Dulce Boat Ride

Monday, July 10th, 2017

rio-dulce-boat-ride

To break up our 10-hour road trip from Guatemala City to Petén, we decided to go on a Río Dulce boat ride, which is near the castle of San Felipe. We buzzed around in a motor boat, looking at exotic birds and wildlife on the edges of the river.

The San Felipe Castle was built on the edge of Río Dulce, so we were able to buzz by it, seeing it sparkle in the sunshine. It was built in the 1500’s by the Spaniards, who had come to colonize the area.

rio-dulce-castle

The palm trees and tropical foliage came right down into the water, and the boat man slowed the boat down so that we could look more closely at the wildlife. Take a look at the video footage from the trip:

Some of the plants are parasitic and grow on the palm trees. Along with the moss and tall grasses, the area looks pretty much like a tropical jungle.

rio-dulce-plants

My husband took each of these spectacular bird pictures. I especially like the white one with the long neck. I captured that one flying in the video, too!

birds-of-rio-dulce

We saw a flock of the strange-looking black-colored birds, too. They sat on stumps sticking out of the water, or they congregated on old wooden docks. We saw a turtle sunning himself under one of these docks:

rio-dulce-turtle

We enjoyed this boat ride very much, since it was the first big event since landing in Guatemala. If you missed our first couple of rainy days, check out this post. The Río Dulce boat ride happened on day 3, along with the Castle of San Felipe, which is coming up next!

Don’t miss any posts in this Guatemala Adventure series! Follow my Missionary Kid page for extra photo albums and videos of random Guatemala activities we fit in around the edges of our trip.

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